Turkey could face unemployment of 6.5 million due to COVID-19 – report

Turkey could be left with 6.5 million people unemployed as a result of the coronavirus, Erol Taymaz, an economics professor at Middle East Technical University, said on Thursday. 

The demand for non-agricultural labour is in Turkey expected to decrease by between 19 and 29 percent as a result of the pandemic, Taymaz wrote in the Yetkin Report.

Taymaz estimated that between 4.2 million and 6.5 million people would likely become unemployed as a result. 

Such job losses would be “huge and unprecedented”, he said.

Even if direct income support were provided to the affected groups at 4 percent of GDP, it would only compensate for nearly half of these losses, said Taymaz.

“Despite these problems, the policy response is very slow and very limited,” Taymaz said. 

He said the state’s short-term work allowance did not cover a significant number of employees and that only 43 percent of those who have applied for the allowance had received payments.

“There should be no uncertainty about the amount and duration of income support, because uncertainty has always been one of the most important factors leading to the deepening of economic crisis,” he said.